What if a rostered day off (RDO) falls on a public holiday?
Some employees (full-time or part-time) may have an RDO that falls on a public holiday. Check the relevant award or enterprise agreement to see if payment or other arrangements are required.
What if an employee is on annual leave during a public holiday?
In some cases, the Easter public holidays may occur during an employee’s annual leave or personal leave. The Fair Work Act states this should be taken as a public holiday, not as annual, personal or carer’s leave. As such, it shouldn’t be deducted from their leave balance.
What if an employee has an unexplained absence before or after a public holiday?
Employees may take time off before or after a public holiday. The Fair Work Act (s116) states that if an employee is absent from employment on a day or part-day that is a public holiday, an employer must pay the employee at the employee’s base rate of pay for the employee’s ordinary hours of work on the day or part-day. No modern award contains terms which permit an employer to deduct payment for a public holiday where the employee is absent the day before or after without reasonable excuse.
While an unauthorised absence may be grounds for taking disciplinary action, an employee would still be entitled to payment for a public holiday that falls on a day the employee normally works.
What if an employee is on long service leave during a public holiday?
If you have an employee who is on long service leave, their leave is usually extended for each day they would normally work that falls on a public holiday. For example, if a New South Wales employee normally works on Fridays and Mondays and is on long service leave over Easter, their leave would be extended by two days.
This rule for long service leave applies in most states, except for South Australia and the Northern Territory.
Employer obligations for public holidays can vary depending on the state, award or agreement and the individual circumstances. It’s best to check your award or agreement and consult the Fair Work Ombudsman’s pay calculator to ensure you are paying your employees correctly.
What to do if your workplace has a ‘short day’ Friday
There are some cases where employees work four eight-hour days, with a shorter working day of six hours on Friday. However, employers in this situation are often approached by employees claiming 7.6 hours of pay for the Friday. This is because many employees have a misconception that a public holiday is worth a specific amount of time.
In this case, the ‘short day’ Friday arrangement is non-standard as employees aren’t working 7.6 hours each day. Because of this, if an employee was paid 7.6 hours on Friday, they would incorrectly be paid for 39.6 hours that week, rather than 38.